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Radioactive traces found in Japan tap water

world Updated: Mar 19, 2011 17:52 IST

Traces of radioactive substances have been detected in Japan's tap water following an emergency at a quake-hit nuclear plant, but are not a risk to human health, the government said Saturday.

Abnormal levels of radioactive iodine were found in the water supply in Tokyo and the central prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba and Niigata, an official at Japan's science ministry said.

Traces of radioactive caesium were also found in tap water in Tochigi and Gunma.

But "the figures are well within the safety standards for drinking water," said the official, who did not want to be named.

Earlier the government said it had discovered abnormal levels of radiation that exceeded the legal limit in milk and spinach from areas near the stricken plant, but they posed no immediate threat to humans.

The findings are nevertheless likely to fuel consumer fears in the wake of a March 11 quake and tsunami, which critically damaged the Fukushima No.1 plant northeast of Tokyo, sending radioactive substances leaking into the air.